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Rojas v. X Motorsport, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

June 2, 2017

EDWIN ROJAS, Plaintiff,
v.
X MOTORSPORT, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         Edwin Rojas brought this suit against X Motorsport, Inc., an automobile dealership, alleging violations of the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq., the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (“ECOA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1691 et seq., and state law. Doc. 1. After X Motorsport moved for summary judgment, Doc. 14, Rojas sought and was granted time to take additional discovery, Docs. 18, 21, voluntarily dismissed his ECOA and state law claims, Docs. 34-35, and cross-moved for partial summary judgment as to liability on the TILA claim, Doc. 41. During briefing on the cross-motions, X Motorsport moved to strike several pieces of evidence that Rojas cited. Doc. 45. X Motorsport's summary judgment motion is granted, Rojas's motion for partial summary judgment is denied, and X Motorsport's motion to strike is denied as moot.

         Background

         When considering Rojas's summary judgment motion, the facts are considered in the light most favorable to X Motorsport, and when considering X Motorsport's motion, the facts are considered in the light most favorable to Rojas. See Cogswell v. CitiFinancial Mortg. Co., 624 F.3d 395, 398 (7th Cir. 2010) (“When the district court decides cross-motions for summary judgment … we construe all facts and inferences therefrom in favor of the party against whom the motion under consideration is made.”) (internal quotation marks omitted). Because granting X Motorsport's summary judgment motion disposes of the case, the following relates the facts in the light most favorable to Rojas. See Garofalo v. Vill. of Hazel Crest, 754 F.3d 428, 430 (7th Cir. 2014). On summary judgment, the court must assume the truth of those facts, but does not vouch for them. See ibid.

         On January 14, 2016, Rojas agreed to purchase a used Volkswagen sedan from X Motorsport for $29, 142.67. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 6-7; Doc. 52 at ¶¶ 6-7. The Standard Buyers Order (“SBO”) that Rojas signed that day called for a down payment of $9, 183; he paid $7, 000 in cash and signed two promissory notes, one for $1, 500 due the next day and the other for $683 due two weeks later. Doc. 15 at ¶ 8; Doc. 52 at ¶ 8. (Rojas did not make good on either note. Doc. 15 at ¶ 34; Doc. 52 at ¶ 34.) To cover the remaining $19, 959.67, and at the same time he signed the SBO, Rojas signed a retail installment sale contract (“RISC”), which required him to make 72 monthly payments of $460.34 payable to X Motorsport or its assignee. Doc. 15 at ¶ 9; Doc. 52 at ¶ 9; Doc. 54 at ¶¶ 7, 10; Doc. 54-2 at 7. The RISC identified X Motorsport as a “Seller-Creditor.” Doc. 54 at ¶ 8.

         The SBO contained the following clause, which conveyed that the SBO would not remain binding if X Motorsport was unable to assign the RISC to a third-party financer:

If purchaser is buying the Vehicle in a credit sale transaction with Dealer evidenced by a signed [RISC], this Agreement is binding when the [RISC] is signed, but will not remain binding if a third party finance source does not agree to purchase the [RISC] executed by Purchaser and Dealer based on this Agreement.

Doc. 15 at ¶ 11; Doc. 52 at ¶ 11. The SBO also contained this clause:

If for any reason you and we do not complete the Vehicle sale and purchase, financing is not obtained, or this Agreement is declared void, this section applies. You will return the Vehicle to us. You will pay us on demand all reasonable charges and expenses for any damage to the Vehicle.

Doc. 15 at ¶ 12; Doc. 52 at ¶ 12. And the SBO contained a merger clause: “[T]his Agreement … comprises, with any [RISC], the complete and exclusive statement of the terms of the agreement relating to the subject matters covered by this Agreement.” Doc. 54 at ¶ 6; Doc. 54-2 at 2.

         In addition to the SBO, the RISC, and the two promissory notes, Rojas signed a “Sold As-Is Rider, ” agreeing that the sale was final and that the vehicle could not be returned for any reason, and an “Immediate Delivery Agreement, ” which allowed him to take possession of the vehicle on the spot while specifying the circumstances under which X Motorsport could repossess it-one of which was X Motorsport's failure to assign the RISC to a third party. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 13-15; Doc. 52 at ¶¶ 13-15; Doc. 54 at ¶¶ 11-12, 16.

         Rojas left with the car, but on his way home it began making worrisome noises. Doc. 15 at ¶ 16; Doc. 52 at ¶ 16. He reported the problem to X Motorsport, which told him to bring the car back. Doc. 15 at ¶ 17; Doc. 52 at ¶ 17. Over the next few days, Rojas and X Motorsport's finance manager, Zaia Rasho, tried unsuccessfully to arrange a time for Rojas to bring in the car. Doc. 15 at ¶ 18; Doc. 52 at ¶ 18. Rasho then asked if Rojas whether he would prefer to “just … give the vehicle back, ” and Rojas responded, “Yeah, let me just get my money back. Let's rip up this contract and I'll give you your car back … .” Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 18-19; Doc. 52 at ¶¶ 18-19. X Motorsport agreed to allow Rojas to return the car and made arrangements for him to do so on January 23. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 20-21; Doc. 52 at ¶¶ 20-21.

         The January 23 appointment did not go smoothly. Rojas did not have the car with him, and he balked at receiving his refund as a check and not in cash. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 26-27, 30-31; Doc. 52 at ¶¶ 26-27, 30-31. Confusion ensued. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 32-33; Doc. 52 at ¶¶ 32-33. Rojas eventually returned the vehicle to X Motorsport on February 13, 2016, and got back his down payment a few days later. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 35-36; Doc. 52 at ¶¶ 35-36.

         The foregoing is all undisputed. The parties dispute only whether X Motorsport secured third-party financing for Rojas's purchase (in other words, whether X Motorsport assigned the RISC to a third party)-Rojas says no, and X Motorsport says yes-and, if not, whether X Motorsport told Rojas about the rejection of his financing-Rojas says yes, and X Motorsport says no. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 10, 29; Doc. 52 at ¶¶ 10, 29; Doc. 54 at ¶¶ 25, 28; Doc. 57. X Motorsport has moved to strike certain evidence adduced by Rojas that is relevant to those factual disputes. Doc. 45. The court will assume that the challenged ...


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